Bring Curiosity: AP Biology


The AP Biology course offers students an opportunity to examine many specimens.

Iona Brooks, Staff Writer

The AP Biology class mirrors an entry-level college Biology course with a heavy focus on lab work and inquiry-based investigations. Around 25 percent of the class is based on hands-on lab work accompanied by lab reports and the development of scientific skills applicable to later life and college. College Counselor Allison Tate advises students to complete basic Chemistry and Biology classes prior to AP Biology. 

“AP Bio is a really valuable course for anybody. Genetics is really interesting and there are some good concepts that everyone should know. For humanities, people who like writing and reading it’s one of the better AP Sciences. I think we get caught up in what do we want to do when we grow up or what do we want to major in, which you don’t really know in high school, so the whole point is to learn how to learn and how to think, so I think it’s important for everyone to know the concepts in AP Bio,” said Tate.

The Biology exam consists of a 90-minute multiple choice section and 90-minute free-response section with six essay questions. Each section contains an equal weight of 50 percent of your total exam score. The exam has a fairly low pass-rate of 64.7 percent in 2019, so students should ensure this class is a right fit for their abilities before taking it. Tate wants students to know that this is difficult class for students.

“It’s a hard class, one of the harder AP classes, so students interested in taking AP Bio should have strong reading skills, some higher level math thinking skills, and be interested in it,” said Tate.

However, despite its challenges, you will gain invaluable lab experience and general scientific knowledge that will be useful for a lifetime. Since the class covers a lot of material, it is necessary to learn additional material outside the classroom in order to be successful. AP Biology teacher Dr. Chantal Bodkin-Clarke knows what it takes to succeed in her class.

“The advice I would give is to bring their natural curiosity, but also to bring discipline. It’s a very full course load but if you marry those two you will be successful,” said Bodkin-Clarke

Overall, AP Biology is a class not to be taken lightly, although it does contain a great number of transferable scientific skills and provides important base knowledge on genetics, cellular processes, and more. Senior David Green shares his experience and gives important advice to those interested in taking AP Biology. 

“It was my first AP class so I found it very difficult and probably wouldn’t recommend it as your introduction to AP classes. Make sure you take Honors Bio beforehand, study, and attend tutoring when needed. Don’t skimp on work,” said Green.

Despite the challenges of the class, if you stay on top of the workload and ask for help when needed you are sure to succeed under the guidance of Dr. Clarke.